23.November.2014, #271

We sang our congregation's original composition, We Cry Out, to start the day's activities.  The song centers on reconciliation, and our theme today was reconciliation, and our church's central tenet is reconciliation.  So that's seeing it through and then some.

Grace you embedded in creation
With your hands you made the nations
O Creator
We cry out for reconciliation

So show us grace
Show us grace
That we might know grace
Show us grace
Fill us with grace
Let us be grace
To this hurting world

Hope you embedded in creation
With your mercy you work out salvation
O Redeemer
We cry out for reconciliation

So show us hope
Show us hope
That we might know hope
Show us hope
Fill us with hope
Let us be hope
To this hurting world

Love you embedded in creation
With your Word you teach incarnation
O Sender
We cry out for reconciliation

So show us love
Show us love
That we might know love
Show us love
Fill us with love
Let us be love
To this hurting world
— NVC original song, written by the congregation, 5.11.14

Second, we did this prayer in a call/response fashion.  It's from Michael Ramsey (1904-1988), an English bishop of some repute (edited, as always, for taste).

What is our hope concerning this world in which we are now living? Certainly Christ encourages us to have hope concerning it. We are to pray, ‘Thy kingdom come on earth’, and so to hope that God’s rule may become apparent in the world everywhere. Thus we hope:
to see races free from injustice to one another, for racial strife is a denial of the divine image in humankind;
to see nations so using the earth’s resources and economic structures that all may have enough to eat, instead of some being affluent while others starve;
to see war, and the possibility of war, banished;
to see family life everywhere secure and stable, happy and unselfish;
to see honesty and compassion prevail;
to see these things happen as part of a deep reconciliation between humanity and God through Jesus Christ; we hope to see people brought everywhere into fellowship with God through Christ.
In all this we hold in one our hope about God’s activity and our own agency; that God might use even us to bring about his kingdom.

Then we sang Lead On, O King Eternal, which is still unmatched in my opinion, and furthermore still lacks any recording(!?!).  And lastly we sang the chorus to How He Loves.  FYI each of these we did in 6/8, which kept the music going even during the readings.

I was thinking about how nice it is to hear the God loves me, over and over again, and then some more, and then some more after that.  I'm being glib, but there is certainly a place for the sentiments expressed in How He Loves... And there's also room for other things, maybe some less supremely self-centered things.  So I wrote some new words to How He Loves, bracketed by the regular lines.  I'm not sure I'll ever repeat it, but for the theme of the evening I thought it was a nice change.  It went like this:

He loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves

He loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves

And redeems us, O he redeems us, O he redeems us, O he redeems

And then calls us, O how he calls us, O how he calls us, O how he calls

To be gracious, O let us be selfless, O let’s look beyond us, O let us show love

To the hopeless, O and to the selfish, O and to the loveless, O let us show love

He loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves us, O how he loves

‘Cause O…how he loves us so, O…how he loves us, How he loves us all, How he loves us all

Posted on December 3, 2014 .